Welcome to a new section here on Sneakdoor, where we take a look at the current state of the Netrunner metagame. The idea is to provide information about what are considered to be the most powerful decks around at the moment, with sample decklists. These ratings are based on results from the Stimhack and NetrunnerDB Tournament Winning Decklists pages, as well as community discussion. Bear in mind that your local meta (such as the notoriously flatline-happy UK) could obviously be completely different!
Since this is a new section, I welcome feedback. I intend to put these out 2 weeks after packs are released to let the meta settle down. Throw me a comment to let me know what you’d like to see going forward.
Tier 1: The most highly optimised, efficient and consistent decks around. It’s very easy for them to find an oppressively powerful line of play. They will tend to have a clearly defined game plan that can be achieved very consistently, even with less experience piloting the deck. These decks consistently win or place highly in tournaments.
Tier 2: Efficient and powerful, but slightly less consistent than Tier 1 and easier to tech against. They may be more reliant on player skill and familiarity, or not quite as strong in the current meta. Still very competitive, can and will take games off Tier 1 decks.
Tier 3: May be either meta-dependent, dificult to pick up and play or simply much less consistent. These decks can perform very well in the right circumstances, but right now are either missing cards to push them over the edge or just don’t quite stack up against the current best decks. Tier 3 doesn’t mean bad – they’re just not necessarily as universally strong as tier 1.
Jinteki: Personal Evolution flatline, Industrial Genomics flatline, various Supermodernism builds out of Titan, Argus. Gagarin.
Jinteki and NBN continue to dominate the competitive scene, putting up impressive results. NBN is fairly evenly split between Butcher Shop and Astrobiotics variants, both of which rely on the incredible pressure a scored Astroscript Pilot Program puts on. The two very powerful win conditions presented by the Butcher Shop builds has led to it becoming extremely popular, as it’s one of the few kill decks that can credibly score out if the runner sits back. It can also play around the omnipresent Plascrete and Anarchs who’ve Had Worse by using combinations of Scorched Earth and Traffic Accident to blast through protection. Astrobiotics took a hit after the release of Clot, but Cyberdex Virus Suite, Shipment from SanSan and a lot of practice will help against Kate decks. It remains extremely strong against Runners teched against glacier, particularly stealth builds and Noise.
HB and RP Glacier both tend to rely heavily on Caprice Nisei and Ash as their methods of scoring out even when behind economically. Marcus Batty has also helped out, either as extra Caprices or setting up rig wipes with destroyers. Both decks prefer to grind out a game, setting up high-powered economic assets that demand the runner deal with them.
Blue Sun glacier has a similar approach, using infinite Adonis Campaign recursion as well as Oversight AI combos to set up a late game remote with Ash. HB Fast Advance has also done quite well, as its beefy ice lets it transition to a more taxing play style. Blue Sun, though (with OAI), has fairly bad Shaper and Anarch matchups (due to Lady/infinite money and D4v1d/I’ve Had Worse respectively) and they’re the most popular runner factions. RP and NEH still have the dynamic where if you tech heavily against one, it causes you problems against the other. Blue Sun can be teched against while maintaining good matchups against other decks.
Most of the lower tier decks are flatline variants that simply aren’t as good as Butcher Shop. Either they can’t stand up to runners economically or they can’t score out against a smart runner. They can still definitely win when piloted correctly or by just getting lucky.
This week, runners get special bonus tiers! DING DING DING!
GOD TIER: Prepaid Kate
Tier…2.5?????: Various Geist builds
Tier 3: Combo/Medium dig Anarchs, other Leela, other Eater Anarchs, stealth Hayley stealth Kit.
I’m giving GOD TIER status to Prepaid Kate simply because it’s put up more tournament results than anything else by a LONG way – more by itself than the entirety of Criminal. It’s fast, resilient, adaptable, and most importantly has no bad matchups. It can be teched against, but is more than capable of wrecking even a teched-out deck. With a strong player piloting it who is experienced with the deck, it’s just the most powerful deck around. Works with or without Professional Contacts. The sheer power of Kate’s ability and the Shaper card pool also mean that less popular archetypes such as Stealth or Katman remain powerful.
The release of Net Ready Eyes and Street Peddler has seen a variety of “good stuff” Anarch decks become popular, viable in quite a few different IDs.The popularity of Replicating Perfection is also a factor, as these decks (particularly the Whizzard and MaxX variants) have a devastating RP matchup thanks to Parasite recursion and Medium. The MaxX version is arguably the most powerful, but requires a very experienced pilot. Eater/Siphon/denial Anarchs are also very strong. Overall Anarchs are the most popular and diverse faction at the moment, with the huge variety of archetypes enabled by Order and Chaos still being explored.
Criminal is definitely the least represented at the moment competitively, but the new and interesting Armand “Geist” Walker is leading to a lot of play and experimentation. It’s impossible to judge his power level yet, but early results suggest it won’t quite match a good Andromeda list. Competitively, Andysucker and Stealth Andy are still quite strong, but meta dependent (especially since RP has teched against Stealth). Leela’s ability to rapidly destroy a board state is also quite effective and her matchup against NEH remains excellent.
THE “SKY IS FALLING” AWARD FOR BREAKING NETRUNNER FOREVER GOES TO: MARCUS BATTY! Previous winners include IT Department, Caprice Nisei and Account Siphon. Stay tuned.
THE “IT’S AMAZING, I SWEAR” AWARD FOR JANK POTENTIAL GOES TO: The disposable cloud breaker suite!
THE “NAPD CONTRACT” AWARD FOR UNSPECTACULAR BUT INCREDIBLY SOLID GOES TO: Street Peddler!